Former MotoGP Competitor, Chris Burns along with exciting up and coming short circuit rider, Ajay Carey are the chosen riders for an all-new short circuit race team, which will grace the Irish Short Circuit scene this year, and will be mentored by a former competitor, Luke Johnston.
AKR/Thomas Bourne Racing, headed by former competitor Alex Knowles has put together this new team with his close friend and team partner Stephen Bourne, a new venture which was born out of a passion for the sport!’
. Both riders will be Honda mounted, and Alex believes both riders have what it takes to add spice to both the USBK & Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship and Burns, who came out of retirement last year, to compete in the NW200 and IOM TT Road races, however, this didn’t materialise through no fault of his own, he did, however, compete at Armoy, Scarborough and Aberdare Park, where he gave a good account of himself on his debut at each circuit.
Back in 2003/04, Burns competed in MotoGP on board the 500 Harris WCM Yamaha and has since competed in British Superbike, Superstock, and supersport, Burns was also teammate to none other than the legendary Michael Schumacher when they both competed in the German IDM Superbike series!
Alex believes that with Chris’s vast amount of experience, this can only be a positive move to include reigning USBK Supersport 300 champion, Ajay Carey, into the team.
Ajay who has just turned 17, from Lisburn, is yet another protégé of the ‘fast-growing’ Irish Minibike Championship Pit Bike series, having taken four Championships within two years, on his short circuit debut in 2019, Ajay clinched the Junior cup championship, whilst last year won the USBK Junior Supersport series and took second spot in the same class at the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship
Joining the team will be former competitor, Luke Johnston, Luke will be playing an advisory role for Team AKR/Thomas Bourne Racing. The former champion has a wealth of short circuit knowledge, from both on track and setting up with machinery. Whilst he may not be competing, he will prove a very valuable member of the team.
Both riders will have two CBR Honda 600RRs at their disposal
Alex Knowles Team Principal
“We as a team (AKR/Thomas Bourne racing) are very excited and proud to be starting on our new venture which was born out of a passion for the sport. We are delighted to announce we are supporting riders Ajay Carey #30 and Chris Burns #84 onboard riding Honda 600 supersport machinery.
We are very much looking forward to the upcoming season and are fully committed to supporting our riders to achieve their optimum goal.
We all have something to prove whether it be to ourselves or others.”
Stephen Bourne of Thomas Bourne Racing
“I am over the moon to be involved with the team. I believe in the lads and their talent, and I look forward to seeing what they could achieve on track”
Chris Burns Rider
“I’m very happy to be part of the Brand New AKR/Thomas Bourne Racing team. It’s a great long-term project and that excites me.
Having made my comeback to the sport in 2021, I feel that was the perfect test for me to hit the ground running this season.
I’m in great shape and very motivated for my team, and I hope to fight for victories from the first round. I cannot thank the team enough for this opportunity. They have made me feel very welcome and I hope to give them the success they all deserve.“
Ajay Carey Rider
I am just starstruck! I feel very fortunate as not many riders get an opportunity like this. I am ready to give it my everything, I’m honoured to be riding alongside the legend that is, Chris Burns. Alex gave me a run on their super twin at Mondello last year, and I managed to put it on the podium in my first outing, this must-have convinced them to make me an offer that was too good to refuse. I’m training very hard with Paul Beattie, who is helping me to be mentally and physically prepared for the 600 and the challenge that lies ahead. To be given an opportunity at this stage in my life is something dreams are made of. I’m looking forward to working with Alex, Steve, and team, not forgetting my Grandad, Dad, my brother, and Stephen, who have been my backbone to get me to where I am today”
Luke Johnston ( 2016 Mondello Masters 600 Pro Champion, 2012 Mondello Masters 600 Cup Champion)
With Chris’ past CV
I dare say there’s not much I’ll be able to pass on to him that he doesn’t know already but perhaps I can show him some Mondello track knowledge to help him acclimatise quickly. And I know when I was Ajay’s age if I’d had someone with a bit of experience watching me out round the track it would have been a real help so it’d be good if I could help him in any way to progress his riding. He’s one of the first kids to graduate from this latest era of minibike racers to the proper big bikes and the mini bike scene is fairly close to my heart these days so if I can help him to adapt to a 600 in any way then I’ll try my best.